Michael Schumacher's condition improving

LUCIEN LIBERT
Last updated 00:01 02/01/2014

Doctors say Formula One champion Michael Schumacher is slightly improved after a second operation following a skiing accident. Mana Rabiee reports.

Schumacher's prospects unclear

Michael Schumacher
Reuters
INDUCED COMA: Formula One legend Michael Schumacher is still fighting for his life in a French hospital.
Schumacher
 

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Michael Schumacher's manager says the Retired Formula One champion's condition is stable and has not changed since doctors said he showed small signs of improvement.

Schumacher, who turns 45 on Friday, suffered critical head injuries when he fell and struck a rock Sunday while skiing. He has undergone brain surgery twice since the accident.

Schumacher's manager, Sabine Kehm said the seven-time champion was "stable over the night."

In front of the Grenoble hospital where he is being treated, she said: "The good news for today is ... there's no significant changes." She adds that the situation remains critical.

A day earlier, doctors said he showed signs of improvement after a second surgery but refused to provide any prognosis.

The 44-year-old German is battling for his life after slamming his head against a rock while skiing off-piste in the French resort of Meribel on Sunday, an accident which triggered an outpouring of concern among fans around the world.

Doctors treating him at a hospital in the eastern city of Grenoble said his condition had stabilised enough yesterday to carry out a new operation to treat the effects of internal bleeding within Schumacher's skull.

"The situation is more under control than yesterday but we cannot say he is out of danger," Jean-Francois Payen, head anaesthetician, told a news conference at the CHU hospital in the eastern French city of Grenoble.

"We have won some time but we must continue an hour-by-hour surveillance... It is premature to speculate on his condition," he said, adding that Schumacher was still in a critical state and suffering from severe lesions and contusions.

Emmanuel Gay, head of the hospital's neurosurgery service, said the operation carried had successfully removed a large haematoma - the medical term for a build-up of blood - from his brain.

"It was larger and more accessible (than others) ... We judged we could remove it without taking any risks," Gay said.

He said the operation was designed to reduce, within Schumacher's skull, the pressure on the brain.

Doctors said the fact that the retired motor racing champion was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident had at least enabled him to make it to the hospital alive.

Payen said the medical team in Grenoble had discussed the operation with Schumacher's family. He added that the condition of the motor racing great was still too fragile to consider transferring him to another hospital for the time being.

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Schumacher is under the care of Professor Gerard Saillant, a brain and spinal injury expert who is also president of the International Automobile Federation (FIA) Institute.

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Saillant said it was still impossible to say how Schumacher's condition would progress in coming days.

"We are a little less worried than yesterday but I'm sure you understand that the situation could change this evening or tomorrow," he told the news conference.

Schumacher, who lives in Switzerland with his wife and two children, is the most successful Formula One driver of all times with a record 91 race victories in a career spanning more than two decades.

Schumacher left the sport last year after a less successful three-year comeback with Mercedes following an earlier retirement from Ferrari at the end of 2006.

French authorities have opened an investigation into the accident, which took place as Schumacher was out skiing with his teenage son.

Ferrari always used to have an annual January gathering with their drivers in the Dolomites and Schumacher, a fitness fanatic, impressed with his skiing ability.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel had been deeply shocked to learn of his accident, her spokesman said on Monday as expressions of concern poured in from fans, former team-mates and rivals.

Former British Formula One driver David Coulthard said he believed Schumacher had not won the full recognition he merited for taking his sport to new heights.

"I only hope Michael Schumacher pulls through so that he can see all the nice things people are saying about him," he wrote in the Daily Telegraph newspaper.

- Reuters

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